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With their family home facing foreclosure, seventeen-year-old Clara Estby and her mother, Helga, need to raise a lot of money fast—no easy feat for two women in 1896. Helga wants to tackle the problem with her usual loud and flashy style, while Clara favors a less showy approach. Together they come up with a plan to walk the 4,600 miles from Mica Creek, Washington, to NewWith their family home facing foreclosure, seventeen-year-old Clara Estby and her mother, Helga, need to raise a lot of money fast—no easy feat for two women in 1896. Helga wants to tackle the problem with her usual loud and flashy style, while Clara favors a less showy approach. Together they come up with a plan to walk the 4,600 miles from Mica Creek, Washington, to New York City—and if they can do it in only seven months, a publisher has agreed to give them $10,000. Based on the true story of the author’s great-aunt and great-grandmother, this is a fast-paced historical adventure that sets the drama of Around the World in Eighty Days against an American backdrop during the time of the suffragist movement, the 1896 presidential campaign, and the changing perception of “a woman’s place” in society....

Title : The Year We Were Famous
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780618999835
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Year We Were Famous Reviews

  • Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
    2019-01-01 21:52

    This is one of two novels based on the true story of Helga Estby and her daughter Clara, who walked from Washington to New York in 1896 in hopes of earning $10,000 with which they could save their farm. I couldn't put the book down, and also couldn't imagine walking all that way, through all kinds of weather and over all kinds of terrain. I have to admire their tenacity and determination. This novel, for young adults, was written by Helga's great-great granddaughter, so I think she had a special insight into how Helga and Clara must have thought and felt, and how they must have interacted with each other. For Helga, it's about having adventure away from the drudgery of the farm, and of showing that women are just as strong and intelligent and can earn just as much money as men, and therefore deserve the vote. For Clara, it began as keeping a promise to her father to watch over and help her mother, but it ended in her gaining in self-confidence and realizing that society had more to offer her than just being a wife and mother. The story didn't end as I expected, and I appreciated the note at the end revealing what happened to Helga and Clara after they arrived in New York. I just wish there had also been a note about the two expressions, "Uff da!" and "Ish da!" that Clara and Helga kept using. I got the gist of what they meant, but I would have liked an explanation just to be sure.Now I have to read the adult novel by Jane Fitzpatrick, The Daughter's Walk, and the non-fiction account, Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America by Linda Lawrence Hunt. I hope both authors consulted the living relatives, like Carole Estby Dagg, to get their facts straight. I highly recommend The Year We Were Famous for anyone who likes women's history and strong female characters.

  • Christina Mandelski
    2018-12-19 23:49

    Don't let the quiet-looking cover fool you, this book is an adventure from start to finish. Based on a true story, fast moving and engrossing, you'll sit there thinking, 'these women really did this'? Facing impossible odds, they really DID! Dagg (who is the great-grand niece of the actual Clara Estby) expertly weaves the day to day events of the trek with the emotional journey of Clara. In many ways Clara is a very typical older teen, trying to find a balance between family duty and her own desire for independence. I think that teenagers will love and relate to the well-written characters, relationships and adventures in this book. I truly loved it and wish it much success!

  • Grace Liberatore
    2018-12-21 22:01

    Have you ever been told that something is too impossible to be done? In the late 1800s, and even to this day, women were not expected to complete challenging tasks. In this book, however, The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg, a mother and daughter try to disprove that. They put their minds to a dangerous task to prove that women can be challenged and overcome the hardest tasks. They prove that the impossible is possible.In this novel, Clara, a teenage girl, lives with her mother, Helga, her “father”, and her many siblings on a farm in Washington State in 1896. Their farm is very important to them, but if they don’t pay their debt soon, they will lose their farm. In order to get the money they need, Helga convinces an author in New York City to pay her $10,000 if she can walk across the country with Clara on a 4,600 mile journey, carrying nothing more than their backpacks and five dollars. As they face the challenges of nature and other people, they prove the strength of women, all while trying to save their lives as they know them. They demonstrate that the impossible can be accomplished if you put your minds to it, and never give up.Carole Estby Dagg wrote this book in a very intriguing way. She told the story from Clara’s point of view. This made the story even more interesting because it was from the point of view of the reader, a teenager perhaps, or even an adult who has experienced being a teen, can relate to. While it was a terrific novel, it could have been better if Dagg added some more events that did not pertain to the walk. Most of story had to do with nature, but it would have been more interesting if there were more conflicts involving other humans. However, the story was still very much enjoyable.This book is strongly recommended for people who are being told that they can’t do something. Specifically, teenage girls can absolutely relate to this book with a deeper, internal meaning. This is because they will understand what it is like to be told that you cannot do something because of the way they were born, in this case a person’s gender. However, this book is probably not the best to read if the reader is too young to have been told that they can’t do something. This is because they will not fully understand the meaning of the book, which is to overcome obstacles, defy the limits people set for you, and to never give up.The Year We Were Famous is an amazing novel that is strongly recommended for people who are being told that some things are impossible. Clara and Helga defy people’s expectations and prove the strength of women. They never give up, despite the life threatening situations they encounter on their adventure. It is a very inspiring adventure novel that is based on a true story. It proves that if someone puts their mind to something, anything is possible.

  • Jennifer Marie
    2018-12-21 20:17

    The Year We Were FamousCarole Estby DaggHistoricalGrade 6 and up288 pagesSet in 1896, The Year We Were Famous is based on the true story of the author’s great aunt and great-great grandmother. It’s a fast-paced historical adventure that will please all.In order to save her family’s farm, seventeen-year old Clara Estby and her mother, Helga, set out to walk across the United States in hopes of raising enough money to save the farm from foreclosure. They start in Spokane, Washington and work their way across America until they arrive in New York City almost nine months later. Their journey is filled with heartache, laughter, dangers and new experiences as mother and daughter learn to better understand each other along the way.I have to say; I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book, but the more I read the harder it was for me to put the book down! I really, really enjoyed it. Clara and Helga are two very different people. Clara is very practical, while Helga is much more carefree. Their personalities clash throughout the novel, but in the end their determination to save the family farm helps them overcome their differences. And with each new challenge they face they learn to rely on and respect each other for the very traits that make them so different. I really liked these characters for both their faults and their strengths. At times I wanted to shake the mother (much like Clara) and at other times I wanted to tell Clara to stand up to her! That’s what made me love them so much. They weren’t perfect, but their interactions were real and heartfelt and I could relate to them.The pacing works wonderfully. We don’t see every step of their journey, but we experience enough to really understand the difficulties, worries and joys Clara and Helga experience. Snakes, highwaymen, flash floods, lava fields, blizzards…it’s one challenge after another! However, it’s not all about the hardship. Along the way, we get some wonderful moments as well! My favorite scene had to be the “curling iron” demonstration! You’ll just have to go read the book to find out more! Trust me it’s worth the read!The historical detail in the book amazed me. From life on a farm, to the bicycle, to the women’s suffrage movement, to president-elect McKinley… Every single page put me back in 1896, without my ever feeling like I was being given a history lesson. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it to all of you! This is one you don’t want to miss.

  • Amelia, the pragmatic idealist
    2019-01-02 23:02

    Fabulous YA historical fiction! The Year We Were Famous has a lot to offer readers - fun, original story (that just so happens to be a *true story*), thoroughly interesting characters, and highly intriguing chunks of American history and geography. The story is based on the real-life experiences of the author's great-grandmother and great-aunt, who, in 1896, trekked clear across the country (Washington state to NYC) by themselves. The book is set against the backdrop of the American suffragette movement and the famous Bryan-McKinley presidential campaigns.I wasn't sure what to expect when I began this story - I knew it was a historical fiction, but I wasn't sure how much history would play a part in the story. The further I got into the story, the more riveting it became! I admit to having a Google Images browser up for every place the characters mentioned. I seriously cannot imagine walking over lava fields in Idaho, crossing the Snake River, or braving through blizzards, much less doing it in the late 19th century, with no hotel reservations or ATM machines or, you know, Mapquest. Clara was an especially endearing character to follow, and her mom will charm and entertain you with her wit and determination, though I did find her a little strong and kind of overwhelming, and she seemed almost out-of-place, out-of-setting with her "New Woman" speeches. But still, both characters were well-rounded, and their interactions were entertaining and heart-felt.I do wish the story could have been a little longer. I know it's not feasible to give each day/location out of their seven-month excursion its own chapter, but Estby Dagg has such a knack for bringing not only history but rich American places to life, I was left feeling full but still wanting more! The passages dealing with the Suffrage movement were thoroughly interesting, and I especially liked them because they reminded me of what I learned in my American West class last year - for example, that women were way more successful getting the vote in western states and territories than in the more "civilized" east, and that Wyoming was the first to grant women the right to vote (Utah had given them the vote, but that was edited out of their constitution when they were admitted to statehood, as a matter of fact).If you consider yourself even a slight fan of Historical Fiction, or if you just like to keep up with the newest, coolest YA releases, you'll not want to miss The Year We Were Famous!

  • Serena
    2018-12-31 20:01

    Let us establish one thing first. Calvin Coolidge was not president before William McKinley, and was not responsible for the economic troubles of 1896. Cleveland was president then, and thus can have some of the blame.If you are wondering why I need to state this, then you should know that Mrs. Dagg wrote that Coolidge was president during the 1896 election. After reading this gross historical inaccuracy which I hope was changed in later copies of this book, my gut was screaming at me to abandon. Like the Estbys in the story I pressed on.There is a reason you should listen to your gut.The author had very little factual historical detail to build her story on because actual first-person accounts of Helga and Clara Estbys' journey were destroyed. This culminates in a book full of half-told "adventures" and a rushed timeline. The climax was sloppily told for a modern-day reader, and the big surprise that came with it was not properly set up.There also was not much description of the actual walking. I understand that writing dime-novel situations was more fun than the means of transportation, but the half the fun is getting there. I wanted more of the day-to-day stuff which integrates the reader into a good historical fiction.(view spoiler)[Finally if the book is going to be compared to Around the World in 80 Days it should have a happy ending. This book did not. (hide spoiler)]Do not waste your time.

  • Jen Bigheart (I Read Banned Books)
    2019-01-09 18:58

    Now this is a stinkin' cute YA historical fiction. I'll be honest, HF is not my strong suit and I have been trying to read more in this genre. I happened to win this copy from The Class of 2k11 last month, and the book has writing in the margins from Dagg filled with insider information. Notes about what made the cut from original drafts, and scenes based on photographs or other writings. These little tidbits were so enjoyable that I wish all of my books were like this. The Year We Were Famous is set in 1896 as Clara and her mother walk from their small farm in Mica Creek, WA to New York City in order to raise funds to save their family farm from being auctioned. Their journey is not an easy one, and I'm not sure they knew how much of an adventure was in store for them. An incident almost landing the ladies in jail, snakes, and a flash floor...this book has it all. The message this story illustrates is what every girl should know; girls can do anything boys can do....maybe even better. I'll be keeping this copy on my Wall of Fame!

  • Sonja
    2019-01-12 20:07

    Loved this book, especially as a campanion to Linda Hunt's "Bold Spirit" about the walk Helga and Clara Estby took across the country from Spokane WA to NY in 1896. The author of this book, Carole Estby Dagg, is Helga's great-granddaughter. She spent 15 years writing this book, especially written for young adults. It is a fictional account of the walk told in Clara's voice. I was fortunate enough to hear Carole speak about her book in the town where I live. The walk itself is testament to two great (and healthy) women who undertook this adventure to earn money to save the family farm. They had experiences of every kind and carried so very little with them. Modern women couldn't do this the same way Helga/Clara did. We're used to too many showers!

  • Dotty
    2018-12-31 23:03

    What fun! And it's based on a true story. It was very interesting to read the thread of reality in the author's notes at the end. In addition showed persistence on her part to get the book published! Would be an interesting mother/daughter read, although parent should be prepared for some "sex education." Stayed up late reading this one as I had to know how it ended. Lots of adventure, history and humor.

  • Bernadette
    2018-12-23 00:53

    I thoroughly enjoyed this Young Adult novel. Two women, a mom and daughter, walked all the way from Spokane, WA to New York City in 1896 to try to win $10,000 to save the family farm. True story! This is a fictionalized account, but since based on fact, and the author is a descendant of those "pedestrians," I was amazed. Over 4,000 miles, following the railroad tracks the entire way.

  • Angie
    2018-12-19 01:01

    Loved it! Carole Dagg tells the fictionalized story of her great-aunt's trek across the US in 1896. It's a tough time for two women (mother and daughter) to walk cross country in order to save the family farm. Dagg keeps the pace fresh and the journey interesting through out. I won't give away the ending, but it made me want to exclaim Uff da! (You'll have to read the book to get the reference!)

  • Christianne
    2018-12-22 23:52

    I enjoyed this story. I especially liked learning the "real" story in the author's note in the back.Not sure it would have enough teen appeal to get picked out of my public library teen collection. It would be great reading as part of a US History course.

  • T
    2018-12-24 18:14

    clean. not entiresly satisfying. kind of interesting at times.

  • Kimber
    2019-01-05 00:03

    A good-hearted and real story that leaves the reader feeling hopeful - while not exactly feminist literature, it features a mother helping show America her support of the women's suffrage movement with her quiet daughter by her side. What makes the book even better is it's based off a true story with true adventure as mother and daughter walk from Spokane, Washington to New York.

  • Christi
    2019-01-02 21:54

    This is such a cool example of an author who successfully turned an amazing story from her family history and turned it into a novel--a labor of love that took years to accomplish. Carole Estby Dagg is my hero!

  • Tari Lawson
    2019-01-13 19:12

    In the words of Clara Estby "Uff da!"

  • QNPoohBear
    2018-12-17 18:05

    This novel is based on the true story of the author's great-grandmother and great-aunt. In order to save their family farm in Washington state, mother and daughter accepted a $10,000 wager to walk across the country in 1896. After the death of her son Henry, Helga takes to her bed in a fit of dismals, leaving seventeen-year-old Clara to care for the younger children and the home by herself. Clara's father is trying to come up with ways to save the family farm and keep them from destitution but one bad harvest after another is not making ends meet. Clara could marry the boy next door, Erick Iverson, a hard-working dependable Norwegian boy, much like Clara's own father. Clara isn't sure what she wants out of life but she knows she doesn't want to get married now and be a farm wife the way her mother did. She dreams of going to college and maybe one day becoming a writer. Then her mother gets the crazy idea to walk across the country to prove women have the endurance for such a thing. At the end of the walk, a publisher in New York will award them $10,000 and publish a book based on their experiences - IF they make it, IF they survive and IF they can get there by the deadline of November 30. Clara thinks her mother's scheme is crazy. Clara has secretly longed for adventure though walking across country isn't what she had in mind. Her father urges her to go along to keep her mother motivated and on track. With a satchel each filled with necessities for emergencies, $5.00 each and sturdy walking shoes, the mother and daughter set forth on a walk across the continent. They manage to gain more publicity the farther east they go, meeting famous people along the way and gathering signatures and stories for their book. Clara learns a lot about the country but she also learns a lot about her mother. The two have a difficult relationship. They have opposite personalities and don't understand each other very well. Clara also learns her mother has been keeping a big secret from her. The walk not only challenges their endurance but it challenges their relationship with each other and the rest of the family they left behind. Along the way they encounter flash floods, sun stroke, Indians and tramps. They wonder if they will ever reach New York and find their way back home again. This is an exciting adventure tale/coming-of-age novel. It imagines the journey taken by the author's ancestors and provides descriptive details about what the pair encountered on their walk. It also looks more deeply at the mother-daughter relationship between Helga and Clara and imagines how their life experiences would have shaped their outlooks on life. Clara is a girl most teen girls can relate to. She isn't sure yet who she is and what she wants to do with her life. She thinks her mother doesn't understand her and isn't sympathetic to her feelings. The introspective plot woven into the adventure makes the book more realistic and interesting. I really liked Clara's personal journey and think the author did a wonderful job shaping her great-aunt. Helga comes across as sometimes unkind and uncaring but she wants what's best for her family and is willing to defy convention to do it. That makes her very admirable in my opinion. The writing style is casual and easy to read. It sounds like a real diary and real letters would. If I wasn't already familiar with the story, I would have been up all night reading to find out of they made it to New York. A map on the endpapers helps the reader follow along Clara and Helga's journey. This is a great book for kids 11+ and adults.The author's note explains more about the family story and her motivation for writing which is very interesting. If you want a more scholarly/biographical look at Helga and Clara Estby's walk, (the book includes many photos) read Bold Spirit by Linda Lawrence Hunt. If you want to an idea of what may have happened next, look for The Daughter's Walkby Jane Kirkpatrick.

  • Margo Tanenbaum
    2018-12-26 23:04

    Debut novelist Carole Estby Dagg was inspired by her own family history to write the delightful new young adult historical novel, The Year We Were Famous. Based on the true story of the author's great-aunt and great-grandmother, this adventure-filled novel set at the time of the suffragist movement tells the tale of 17-year old Clara Estby and her mother, Helga, who decide to walk clear across the United States from the small Norwegian-American farming community of Mica Creek, Washington to New York City--some 4,000 miles--to save their family farm from foreclosure. Helga, a dedicated suffragist, also wanted to prove that women deserved the vote, because a woman was resourceful enough to make it across the country on her own, without a man's help. All this, in an era when most women never went more than a few miles from their home.The story, told in the first person by Clara, opens with Clara, the eldest of eight children, having returned from high school in Spokane to her family's farm in Mica Creek. While brainstorming about ways to raise money to save their farm, her mother comes up with her idea of walking across the country, and begins seeking sponsors. At her pa's suggestion, Clara agrees to go along on an adventure that she can't begin to imagine: "This would be my year abroad, my year to turn the old Clara into someone bold, someone with newfound talents, strengths, and purpose in life." And when a New York publisher offers them $10,000 if they complete the trip by November 30, 1896, they are on their way, equipped with calling cards, a letter from the mayor of Spokane attesting to their moral character, work boots, canteens, oil-skin ponchos, tooth powder and toothbrushes, two journals and six pencils, a second-hand satchel, and a compass given to Clara by Erick, the boy who's sweet on her--but no change of clothes!Needless to say, Clara and her mother have no shortage of adventures on the way, as they follow the train tracks East, including encounters with Native Americans, outlaws, handsome journalists, and even the President-Elect and First Lady of the United States, not to mention blizzards, flash flood, lava fields, heat, thirst, and a sprained ankle. Will they make it to New York on time to collect their prize and save the farm? You'll have to read this to find out. I, for one, had a hard time putting this book down. Author Dagg does an outstanding job bringing the voices of her intrepid ancestors to life; she extensively researched the lives of Victorian women in order to "get inside Great-Aunt Clara's head." Teens are likely to identify with Clara's personality clashes with her mother, as well as her dreams of a life more exciting than being a farmer's wife in rural Mica Creek and her struggle between family obligations and becoming independent.An excellent website for the book offers more information on historical context and discussion themes; this would be a particularly appropriate title for a mother-daughter book club, and although the protagonist is seventeen, the book would be perfectly appropriate for readers as young as ten.

  • Carin
    2019-01-03 17:54

    What a cute, sweet book! And yet, it also has a lot of deeper themes and topics that would be perfect for a book club but it doesn't hit you over the head with them and if you prefer to just read it superficially for the story, it's still fun and enjoyable. (And the jacket doesn't photograph well - the book is a lot prettier in person than the images make it look.)It's 1896. The country is in the midst of yet another depression (we had a lot of them in the 1800s). The Estbys are barely scraping by, with their father, Ole, injured and so unable to do any carpentry, the farm alone isn't enough to support a family of 10. And their mother, Helga, has taken to her bed which she is wont to do from time to time. One day Clara, the eldest, is talking with Helga about how much she admires Nellie Bly, the female journalist who was recently paid to travel around the world. It puts a bug in Helga's ear and soon she has an idea to save the farm: she'll walk across the United States and get someone to pay her to do so. She's mostly doing it to save the farm, but she also wants to prove that women are strong and can do things many men think they can't, which she hopes by default will mean voting as she's a staunch suffragist.As Helga isn't in the best of health, having just spent a month or so in bed, and inclined to crash into depression as quickly as her flights of fancy hit (pretty easy to see undiagnosed bipolar disorder), Ole asks Clara to join Helga on her walk. Helga gets a woman publisher in New York to agree to pay her $10,000 if she (and Clara) can make the walk in seven months. No one thinks they can do it. The first day, without any preparation, they walk 26 miles. Having recently walked a marathon myself, and not in corsets, floor-length skirts, or ill-fitting work boots, I am astonished at their fortitude. And they keep going despite bad weather, no food, no places to stay (they rely on the kindness of strangers the entire way), occasional very unfortunate bad directions or wrong ways, blisters, no water, dangerous strangers, and they keep walking for 4000 miles.Do they make it? Do they make the deadline? Do they save the farm? Will Clara marry the neighbor Erick (nice but boring) when they return? What of the handsome journalist she meets along the way? Will mother and daughter kill each other on the trip?While the story itself has more than enough excitement to keep one entertained throughout, the novel also brings up questions of obligations, responsibilities, whether sticking out a crazy bet like this shows determination or foolhardiness, should Clara follow her heart and her ambitions, or help save her family and settle down, and what was our country thinking a century ago with no safety nets at all when times got tough aside? There are a lot of topics for potential discussion, but I enjoyed it thoroughly just with the story itself. It was a very fast read (I read it on 2 days) and I highly recommend it. Being based on the true-life story of the author's great-grandmother and great-aunt just made it that much more interesting!

  • Anne
    2019-01-06 20:09

    This is based on the true story of Helga and Clara Estby who walked from Spokane to New York in 1896. It was written by their great niece/great granddaughter.I found it fascinating and contemplate how different it would be if they were to attempt this today.

  • Cindy Hudson
    2018-12-29 20:02

    Seventeen-year-old Clara longs to escape the confines of her family homestead in small Mica Creek, near Spokane, Washington. But finances are tight, and the family is in danger of losing their home and land if they don’t raise the money needed. When Helga, Clara’s mother, comes up with a plan to walk from their home to New York City as a way to earn money, Clara goes with her. The question is, will her trip show a way for her to leave home forever, or will it bind Clara more tightly to the family and neighbors she leaves behind?The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg is a fictionalized story based on real events from the late 1800s. Helga and Clara are the author’s great grandmother and great aunt, and Dagg breathes life into their saga through Clara’s eyes.At eighteen, Clara chafes at the life of drudgery that comes from living on a farm and the prospect of marrying someone not for love, but for reliability and proximity. Restrictions on women in particular were strict in those times, and they were limited in the ways they could earn money. Helga is active in the suffragette movement and takes the opportunity to promote the vote for women on their trip.Through Clara’s eyes, the country the two women pass through and the challenges they face come alive. Railroads were crucial for life in those times, and travelers often depended on the kindness of strangers they would never see againWhile the real Clara did keep a journal of her trip and the two hoped to write a book about their experience, their adventure was never captured in publication and Clara’s journal was destroyed. In a note at the end, Dagg says she hopes “Helga and Clara would not wince at the words I have put in their mouths or the thoughts I have put in their heads.” To readers, the important thing is that the story is well told and brings this time in history to life.I highly recommend The Year We Were Famous for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 12 and up. Issues to discuss include women getting the right to vote, differing views of women and their abilities between then and now, young people making decisions about their future, and what we can learn when we travel far away from home.

  • Barbara
    2018-12-21 17:58

    Desperate to earn enough money to save the family farm in 1896, thirty-five-year-old Helga Estby comes up with the idea of walking across the country, starting near Spokane, Washington, and ending in New York City. Her daughter, Clara, accompanies her at the request of Clara's father who is worried about his wife's stamina. Dressed in their finest clothing and carrying satchels, the two set off across the country, intending to work in exchange for food and shelter along the way. Of course, they need to walk 25 miles each day if they are to reach their destination by the specified time. All sorts of adventures come their way--snow, flood, an encounter with a would-be bandit, even the hint of a possible love interest for Clara. The two women have never gotten along very well, possibly because they are both so strong-minded and independent, possibly because of a secret Helga has carried for much of her life. I loved much of the story until they neared New York, and then, it seemed to lose steam, much as Clara and Helga do. The secret Helga reveals is almost too much for Clara to bear, and the two return home, having accomplished their goal but having been cheated out of their money in a rather anticlimactic finish. I never really bought the character of newspaperman Charles Dore and Clara's fascination with him as contrasted with the stolid, reliable Erick who awaits Clara back home. While the determination and bravery of these two women can't be missed by even a casual reader of the book's pages, I wanted to know more about Clara and what happened to her next. How were her dreams realized? Having driven along much of the region where the two women walked, I had to shake my head in amazement at their daring, especially for those times. My interest also was heightened by the author's note about being Helga's great-granddaughter and continuing to work on the book even after 27 rejections.

  • Sally Kruger
    2019-01-06 18:49

    It is 1896 and Clara Estby is seventeen. Her goal is to attend college and become a writer, but first she must help her family. Her mother Helga recently took to her bed claiming she suffers from consumption. Clara is used to her mother's bouts of what is likely depression, and she tries her best to lend a hand caring for her siblings and her father.Clara knows another concern her mother has is the threat of losing the family farm. Harvest have been extremely poor in recent years and the bank may soon force them to move. Everyone is surprised when Helga suddenly makes a quick recovery and proposes a plan to save the farm. She has figured out a way to earn the money they need by walking from Mica Creek, Washington to New York City in hopes of selling rights to a book of her adventures.It is decided that Clara should accompany her mother on the journey across the country. The two use Clara's college savings to purchase a minimum of supplies and their trek begins. The plan is to follow the railway lines, stopping at newspaper offices along to way to have their story recorded and published. After writing letters to numerous publishers in New York, Helga receives a commitment of $10,000 if they can complete their journey by a required deadline.The two women survive blizzards, flash floods, and getting lost in a lava field. They camp with Indians and meet the president-elect of the United States. Readers will become fascinated with the adventures of Helga and Clara as they strive to make their deadline and show the country just what determined women can accomplish.Author Carole Estby Dagg has based THE YEAR WE WERE FAMOUS on the true story of her great-grandmother and great-aunt. Their story will live on in the minds of readers and perhaps inspire a few to follow their own dreams.

  • Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
    2019-01-02 20:07

    I absolutely loved this incredible journey. Inspired by true events, The Year We Were Famous is a story that is full of hope, courage, and never giving up. Following the journey of the mother-daughter team of Helga and Clara, who in hopes of saving their farm and making money from their story, walked from Mica Creek, WA clear across the country to New York City, New York. During the story's era of 1896, these two courageous women were armed with very little as they set out on a trek that was either admired or frowned upon, because they were women traveling alone. Not to mention the fact Helga left behind a husband and seven younger children. Together Helga and Clara battled getting lost, down pours, blizzards, little food, worn out shoes and so much more. Their adventures of joy, heartache, sorrow, discourage, courage and struggles were captured with letters home, journals they wrote to document their trip and letters they wrote to major news papers along the way. Being a relative Helga, I loved that the author Carole Estby Dagg was able to include some real life notes about Helga, Clara, their trip and family, at the end of this fabulous fictionalized story. This is fantastic debut novel! I love how realistic this story felt. I enjoyed the encounters the women had with the local Native Americans in various parts of the West, the different descriptions of the towns/settlements they journey through, and I loved getting to know these two women. They had to endure so much and I really admire the inner strength both women had. Though they were at times at odds with each other and their story doesn't end on the note they had hoped, it's such a fascinating story to read. The setting, the dialogue and the whole feel of the book felt like I was reading a journal from 1896. I highly recommend picking this book up!

  • Becky
    2019-01-01 19:04

    I definitely liked Carole Estby Dagg's The Year We Were Famous. This is historical fiction based on a true story, a true family story. It is fiction; liberties have been taken. Liberties that work in favor of a not-so-bleak ending. Clara Estby is the heroine of The Year We Were Famous. She is the oldest daughter; she is seventeen. The family farm is in big, big trouble. Her mother, Helga, who suffers--and suffers understandably--from depression, works with her daughter to brainstorm a way to "save" the farm. Her daughter's careless comment about wanting to travel the world and be a journalist sparks an idea that can't be swept aside. Helga is determined to find sponsors, wealthy sponsors who want to test what women are capable of. She wants to make a deal. She and her daughter will walk across country, over three thousand miles, starting with no more than $5, if they reach New York City by the deadline, they will receive $10,000--more than enough to keep the farm. This is where the details are a bit fuzzy in reality because the journals and such were purposefully destroyed by the family. No one is sure *who* the sponsor was, if there even was a sponsor, the intentions of the sponsor, etc. For over seven months May through December, these two women are on their own and on an adventure of sorts. It is dangerous and exhausting and overwhelming and a once in a lifetime opportunity. They meet new people almost every single day. They are sharing their stories with various newspapers across the country. They are speaking at suffragette events across the country. They are challenging themselves day and night...I liked this one. It is set in 1896. I appreciated the fact that the author was inspired by her family history.

  • Women's Group
    2019-01-09 17:58

    The Year We Were Famous (by Carole Estby Dagg) is an amazing and heartfelt novel about a teenage girl’s walk across the United States with her mother in the 1890s—all for the sake of a bet to win the $10,000 prize that can save their farm in eastern Washington state. The story is engaging on at least three levels. First (perhaps foremost), it is a story of adventure: the fears, hardships, and deprivations along the 6-month trek from Mica Creek, WA to New York City as told from the point of view of Clara Estby, the 17-year girl. Second, it is a story of relationships: the tensions teenage girls feel with their mothers, the secrets that are revealed along the way, the beginnings of a new love, and the ties to Clara’s family and the man who has already asked for her hand in marriage back home. Last, this book is history, based on the real walk by the real Clara and Helga Estby more than one hundred years ago, who happen to be the Great Aunt and Great Grandmother of the author. Some readers may be familiar with the historical account of this trek (Bold Spirit, written by Linda Hunt), which is used in some college courses in Women’s Studies departments across the US, but Dagg’s novel engages the heart as a straight history cannot. Moreover, it speaks to young people of courage and hope, which is sorely needed today. My local librarian in Washington recommended it in a display of ‘Washington Heroes in History,’ and I have since shared it with neighbors and friends, all who have thanked me (the teenage girls AND their parents—its audience is ageless). I hope very much there will be a next installment, or at least a new novel by this winner of the Sue Alexander Award for Most Promising Manuscript.

  • Linda
    2019-01-11 01:57

    While browsing for books for the Western Genre Challenge, The Year We Were Famous caught my eye. The story of a mother and daughter crossing the United States on foot. In the 1890's. Sounds intriguing. I'm glad I gave it a chance. It was certainly an interesting story.Clara and Helga Estby decided to walk across the United States to help save their farm in Mica Creek, Washington. They owed a $1000 in back taxes and couldn't think of a way to raise without doing something drastic. Helga was opposed to leaving the farm and moving to Spokane, Washington, the nearest large city. Clara was looking forward to leaving Mica Creek, going to college, and being away from her mother. Helga was bipolar but no one then knew what that was. Helga had episodes were she stayed in bed while Clara ran the household. Clara wanted her mom to get up and solider through these sad times but Helga couldn't. But then Helga would spring out of bed and want to clean the whole house despite the hour or what else was going on in the household. These manic periods upset Clara too since she knew Helga would run out of steam and head back to bed.As far as I can tell on Wikipedia, Clara and Helga are the first women to have walked across the United States. A mysterious sponsor offered $10000 if they could reach New York by the end of November. I was in awe of how these women set out without a change of clothes, very little food and water to walk from Washington State to New York. They knew very little about the conditions of the rest of the country but went anyway. I enjoyed learning about Clara and Helga and loved their story. I highly recommend The Year We Were Famous.

  • Retirement Reader
    2019-01-12 01:54

    The Year We Were Famous (by Carole Estby Dagg) was an engaging historical novel. This is a wonderful adventure story of a real mother-daughter team, Helga and Clara, taking proactive action to save the family farm in the late 1800s. Carole Estby Dagg's telling of this true story is through the eyes of the teenage daughter Clara and uses well researched intelligent prose to fill unknown details. In a series of heartfelt, frightening and sometimes dangerous or frustrating adventures, the two women share an awesome 4000 mile walk across the USA with almost no resources in the quest to win a cash prize needed to save the farm, but also to strengthen the suffragist movement. They experience the best in people and the worst. En route, Clara develops her innate strengths and problem solving skills, develops a better understanding of her mother, and learns that some boundaries can be moved. In my retirement years, I find myself enjoying books directed toward younger people. The Year We Were Famous is intelligent and not juvenile in content, but seems very appropriate for the 12 years and older that it is advertised for. I highly recommend this historical novel and am looking forward to the two “messy draft stage” books mentioned on this new author's web page; maybe one is a sequel about the heroine Clara?!

  • Christie
    2018-12-27 01:11

    I picked this book up because it sounded interesting. A mother and daughter undertake a transcontinental walk from Spokane, Washington to New York City. Based on the true story of the author's grandmother and great-aunt, it is quite an uplifting story of family, determination, and courage. I very much enjoyed the book and felt the author captured the emotions of the two women as they proceeded on their journey quite well. The voice of Clara rang true as that of an 18 year old girl trying to balance her sense of obligation to her family with her desire for an independent life. My only problem with the book, and it was a big glaring problem, was that the author did not do adequate research of the time period she was covering in her book. For example, she states that Calvin Coolidge was president of the United States in 1896, when this book was set, however, he would not be president for another 30 years and Grover Cleveland was the president in 1896. Something that simple is easy to find out. If you are going to write historical fiction the least you can do is get the president right.

  • Kristen
    2018-12-29 20:13

    Why I read this: I actually got a request from the author, which doesn't happen often to me and the more I read about this book, the more I felt driven to read it. And so I did. :)Plot: Based on family stories, Carole has created a fantastic historical fiction novel about a journey of a young woman with her mother from the west coast to the east coast of America during the late 1800s. Scattered with letters, a bit of romance and some serious danger, this is a book you won't be able to put down. I love the added historical markers in this book, talking about woman's suffrage, and meeting president McKinley.Characters: I loved seeing Clara grow in this novel. She goes from living as she's expected to, possibly marrying the boy next door she's known forever, to traveling across the country with her mother and finding there's more to life than what she has grown up knowing. I also enjoyed getting to know Helga, who you don't quite truly understand until towards the end of the novel.Relatability: For fans of historical fiction and coming of age stories.Cover Commentary: Very cute and has a "Wild West" feel to it.